In a humorous take on how quickly rabbits breed, The Mill NY finished a playful spot for the relaunch of the VW Rabbit. Teaming up with Director Nicolai Fugslig, The Mill team fashioned the feeling that the automobile Rabbit was really an animal rabbit through animation and effects.
The concept centers on the idea that black and white VW Rabbits meet in Central Park. With the help of skillful stunt driving, the cars flirtatiously acknowledge one another front-to-front and soon enter a park tunnel representing a rabbit hole. They quickly come out of their rendezvous tunnel with their newly bred grey VW Rabbit babies.
The Rabbits continue to breed and soon a Rabbit can be found on every street of New York, frolicking, chasing and hopping past one another. By the end, the city is covered in grid-lock traffic with black, white, grey and harlequin Rabbits, who have multiplied before the viewers eyes. The end tag reads “The Rabbit. It’s back”.
Various circumstances required the production team to shoot Prospect Park as a stand-in for Central Park. They turned to Senior Flame Artist Dirk Greene and The Mill creatives to composite shots of New York skylines into the Brooklyn park scenes, creating the impression of a Manhattan background.
Ever wonder how production teams get a street to look so quiet, such as those where the Rabbits are roaming New York City? In addition to closing down streets during shooting, they also relied on the strong team of Mill artists to intricately clean up the shots. The Mill team removed people, cars and other distractions that took away from the feel that Rabbits were breeding whenever someone was not looking.
Many effects were needed to give the viewer the sensation that the cars were animal-like. To produce the youthful, rabbit-like movements, Nicolai and his team set up bumps and ramps on location. They tasked The Mill with removing these elements to give a hopping, bunny-like movement to the cars. Dirk also darkened up the park tunnels to create the impression that they were actually mating in urban ‘rabbit holes’.
Additionally, the majority of shots required the compositing of multiple plates that were shot to give the impression of more Rabbits than were actually shot.
The CG highlight of the spot is the end shot of numerous Rabbits moving in different directions, generating a chaotic sense of rabbit families jammed in traffic. The production team shot fifteen VW cars for a shot that required roughly one hundred. So it was left to the imaginative Mill 3D team led by Ben Smith and Dylan Maxwell, to create CG replicas of the real VW Rabbit. With expert skill, they made it virtually impossible to know the difference between the actual and the computer generated.
The spot is accompanied by a song entitled, “The Birds and The Bees” by Patrick and Eugene a double reference to the bucolic scene and the Rabbit breeding.
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